We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory — Louise Glück
Prologue: A Constant Struggle
It is rather unfortunate that, at most times, my capacity to unlearn continues to diminish as my mind hardens to a set of philosophies that many would characterize a ‘normal’ life. Also, a barrage of everyday messaging urging me to be a lifelong learner somehow does not seem to placate an already angry mind. Is learning supposed to be accretive or is it a process of creative destruction which involves unlearning old ways to create space for new ideas to flourish?
As a futurist, I cannot help but imagine a world enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is also unburdened by the lack of a formal education. A world that would reward innate skills over rote learning. As I write this, it is obvious that almost the entire breadth of human knowledge can be accessed on a smartphone. To be truly adaptable in an AI enabled world, every individual will have to be ‘uneducated’ in the ways of the old world to be able to understand fully what the word ‘education’ truly means.
I am an ABCD — An Accountant, Banker and a Confused Denizen. Most people would call me ‘educated’. Somehow, the word ‘educated’ has very a different connotation for me now. It has come to symbolize entry into a man made world where the goal is to earn and save as much money as I possibly can. Don’t get me wrong — I am not complaining. The very same ‘education’, that has a very different meaning to me now, has provided me with a very happy life. However, I cannot help but imagine a world where knowledge is pursued for knowledge’s sake-not primarily for monetary gain. That is because all the routine tasks would have been automated away.
Today, education has a narrower meaning. In most cases, it is the first step to a ‘job’. Perhaps, education can also lead to affluence and an entry into a very different world. It is a more rigid structure of learning that is based on sequential achievement of goals. That step by step progression can be anathema to the human soul. Human potential is limitless. A formal structure…